Diana review round-up: the five most scathing comments – and the one critic who loved it

From "car crash cinema" to the portrayal of a "sad sack singleton even Bridget Jones would cross the street to avoid", some bitesized reviews for Diana, starring Naomi Watts

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It’s a brave man to use the term “car crash cinema” when referring to a biopic about the late Princess Diana, but that’s exactly what The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw has done. And based on the string of savage first reviews, he may have a point. 

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Following the film’s world premiere in London’s Leicester Square last night, UK critics have been sharing their thoughts on the Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed flick – and they certainly aren’t holding back.

The film, which profiles the relationship between Diana (Naomi Watts) and Pakistani-born heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews), has suffered its fair share of negative publicity in recent weeks, with Khan claiming it’s based on “hypotheses and gossip”. And by the looks of these scathing comments, the critics are in full agreement… 

First up is Bradshaw, who continues his ruthless one-star tirade by stating, “The green space outside the Odeon Leicester Square may well be covered in cellophane-covered bouquets in the days to come, in memory of this new woe.” 

David Edwards in The Mirror is equally stingy with his star-rating, summing up the film’s take on Princess Diana with the following… “The Queen of Hearts has been recast as a sad-sack singleton that even Bridget Jones would cross the street to avoid.”

The Times’ Kate Muir is another acid-tongued one-star critic, announcing, “There are a number of lines you never, ever want to hear Diana, Princess of Wales say, and they include: ‘I love feeling your hand there’, and ‘Yes, I’ve been a mad bitch’. Even when these lines are delivered by the fragrant Naomi Watts, doing her level best with a squirmingly embarrassing script, this film is still atrocious and intrusive.”

Christopher Tookey in The Daily Mail claims Diana is “slow and terribly, terribly dull,” adding that Hirschbiegel has “directed without panache, lightness of touch or the slightest aptitude for romance.”

Writing in The Telegraph, David Gritten’s two-star review offers glimpses of generosity, but eventually concludes that “ultimately, what’s the point of Diana? It’s hardly fascinating.”

But amongst the onslaught of critical villification comes one reviewer who had a jolly good evening at the cinema. The Evening Standard’s royal editor Robert Jobson bucks the trend, offering Diana four stars in a saccharine review that wastes no time in mentioning his role as a reporter back during the highlights of the Princess’s heyday – “all scenes that the movie covers”.

“As a charming, impossible but ultimately tragic love story it works and I thoroughly recommend it,” he enthuses. Maybe he was in the wrong cinema?   

Diana is released in UK cinemas on 20 September. Take a look at the trailer below…


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